Being a Wife in Japan

Misako Yoke wrote about how being a married woman in Japan has some disadvantages, stating that to be a good wife, a person has to be quite agreeable and obedient. Speaking for herself, Misako doesn't want to be perceived that way, as she believes that she has the right to be seen and heard as an individual.

Read on to learn more about her experience of being a wife in Japan.

Nick: Let's talk about your life as a wife in Japan, and how that became, I guess, a source of conflict with you as your true self being a genki person.

So you write: 'In Japan, a good wife is quite agreeable and obedient. But I was none of these things.'

Misako: I decided to tell everything, this is me. I wrote in Japan, a good wife is, but I hope that it's not true anymore. I haven't been able to go back to Japan for almost five years and I don't really know the current situation, but I hope it has changed.

It's not fair for a lot of women, because not so many people are quiet, agreeable and obedient. When you get to a certain age, you will have developed yourself, and it's difficult to be obedient without thinking.

We have opinions and we want to discuss and build relationships based on who we are. But someone tells you being a good wife means obedient, that will shut the door to be yourself. So I hope that has been changed.

Nick: Yeah, I think it's changed to some degree, but I think Japan still is behind the rest of the developed world.

I remember when I went to Japan, and I used to love learning words and phrases. I remember learning Jimushi no Hana, and at the time, I thought it was cool.

But then I reflected on it. Soon after I realized, it is to describe female office workers as office flowers, and they're there just to make the environment more beautiful.

Misako: That's not the way we want to be seen. We wanted to be part of the team, but that was true. Shokuba no Hana is what we were expected of.